Not the State Printer You Used to Know
WHEN YOUR in-plant has 153 years of history behind it, promoting it as a cutting-edge marvel with a “customers first” mentality can be a tough job.
Jean-Luc Devis thinks he’s found a way.
Just 15 months into the job, the new director of the State of Washington Department of Printing has made it his mission to rebrand his 130-employee in-plant in the minds of customers. His message: “We’re not the state printer you used to know.”
Instead of using the state mandate to force agencies to use the in-plant—the strategy just a few decades ago—the Department of Printing (PRT for short) now strives to partner with customers to further their success.
“We’re really looking out for their best interests,” declares Devis.
One way he and his staff are doing this is by showing customers how new technology—particularly variable data—can help them better reach their audiences. Many agencies, clinging to antiquated perceptions of the state printer, are amazed to find out what the operation can do—and printing is only part of the picture.
“I’ve seen us change from one ‘P’—printing—to the other ‘P’—which is partnerships,” quips Dan Swisher, assistant director and a 10-year PRT veteran. “We are a partner; we’re not just a printer.”
Customers are getting this message and are signing on, bringing new business to the in-plant. This, combined with other cost-cutting and restructuring efforts, led to a $790,000 surplus in fiscal year 2007—big news, considering the previous year saw a loss of $638,000.
A Giant Among In-plants
With $34,345,000 in annual revenue, the Washington Department of Printing is one of the country’s largest in-plants. (It ranked fifth by sales on last month’s IPG tally of large in-plants.)
Devis’ predecessors in the role of state printer, Larry Weber and George Morton, did much to turn the operation into a model in-plant. Morton brought the concept of customer service to the department, while Weber made it a leader in technology; the PRTonline Web portal he designed remains hugely successful as a way for agencies and the public to order printed products.
Bob has served as editor of In-plant Impressions since October of 1994. Prior to that he served for three years as managing editor of Printing Impressions, a commercial printing publication. Mr. Neubauer is very active in the U.S. in-plant industry. He attends all the major in-plant conferences and has visited nearly 170 in-plant operations around the world. He has given presentations to numerous in-plant groups in the U.S., Canada and Australia, including the Association of College and University Printers and the In-plant Printing and Mailing Association. He also coordinates the annual In-Print contest, cosponsored by IPMA and In-plant Impressions.